On any given night, joyous sounds of laughter and music, punctuated by clinking glasses and the unusual tempo of a hammer against a nail, erupt from The Hall. Located in Des Moines, Iowa, The Hall is a bar and restaurant, and one of
three companies—The Hall, The Distillery and The Kitchen—that make up
Originally meant to house boxcars, the large industrial space provided
irregular design challenges. Having stood for over a century, the building’s
owners wanted to keep this piece of Midwestern history alive, but the
massive footprint wasn’t necessarily a selling point to tenants.
At the same time, restaurateurs Nick and Lynn Kuhn had a challenge of
their own. Over the last year since becoming a 501(c)( 3), they have worked
tirelessly to create the Justice League of Food in their community, which
provides training and food to those experiencing homelessness.
The result will become The Kitchen, which is currently being built next to
The Hall within The Foundry.
However, as anyone who has worked with a nonprofit can tell you, the
hardest part can often be maintaining reliable funding. This is where the
idea for The Hall first began.
“Ironically enough, The Hall was the afterthought,” said Nick. “We were
first engaged with this building and the landlord over our desire to build
that shared kitchen. We had an opportunity to commit to the entire building,
“Most people think this was our first thought,” he continued. “No, it was
an afterthought. A great afterthought, but nonetheless, an afterthought.”
When taking on the challenge of The Foundry, architect Evan Shaw,
AIA, of INVISION, said that the goal was to allow the history of the building
to inform the design decisions. “The building is a historic building, so [we
didn’t] try too hard, and let it be what it is,” Shaw said. “It’s imperfect—it’s over
100 years old—so we let it continue to be imperfect. At the same time, this
was a foundry after it was a railroad maintenance building, so we worked
off the industrial and transportation aesthetic, and worked that into the
The result allowed the original brick and steel to become the foundation
of the design. Wall paneling was left raw so that its natural blue patina added
subtle detailing. A floor-to-ceiling glass wall was constructed between The
Hall and The Distillery so patrons could watch spirits being made while
enjoying a pint in the beer hall, adding to the transparent authenticity of the
space. A shipping container was refurbished to become a walk-in refrigerator
through which the beer taps were installed.
But the Kuhns wanted to push that connection to the building’s history
26 interiors+sources september2018 interiorsandsources.com
Taking up one-third of a railcar maintenance shop that’s over 100 years old, The Hall —
a beer garden in Des Moines, Iowa—taps into its history.
ABOVE AND RIGHT
When looking to
reuse the massive
building, architect Evan Shaw
wanted to allow
history to shine.
“The building is a
so [we didn't]
try too hard and
let it be what it
is,” Shaw said.
is The Foundry
The Hall, and the
interiors | REPORT | Compiled by Kadie Yale | Images courtesy of J.C. Buck and Riley Glenn